The Ayyubids were a dynasty that ruled Egypt from the 12th to the 13th centuries. They were founded by Saladin, who became the sultan of Egypt in 1171 after defeating the Crusaders. The Ayyubids were famous for their military prowess and their ability to maintain control over the country. They established a strong central government and built a large army, which they used to defend against external threats and to maintain control over the country. The Ayyubids also made significant contributions to the arts and culture of Egypt. They built many important buildings and monuments, including the Al-Azhar Mosque and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. They also supported the development of science, medicine, and philosophy, and they encouraged the translation of important works from other cultures into Arabic.

A Dirham coin depicting Saladin, c. 1189 CE

Conquest of Arabia

In 1173, Saladin sent Turan-Shah to conquer Yemen and the Hejaz. Muslim writers Ibn al-Athir and later al Maqrizi wrote that the reasoning behind the conquest of Yemen was an Ayyubid fear that should Egypt fall to Nur al-Din, they could seek refuge in a faraway territory. In May 1174, Turan-Shah conquered Zaid and later that year captured Aden. Aden became the principal maritime port of the dynasty in the Indian Ocean and the principal city of Yemen, although the official capital of Ayyubid Yemen was Ta’iz. The advent of the Ayyubids marked the beginning of a period of renewed prosperity in the city which saw the improvement of its commercial infrastructure, the establishment of new institutions, and the minting of its own coins. Following this prosperity, the Ayyubids implemented a new tax which was collected by Galles.


Despite their success, the Ayyubids faced several challenges during their reign. They were constantly threatened by external enemies. Such as the Crusaders and the Mongols, and they also faced internal conflicts and rebellions. The Ayyubids were also famous for their extravagant spending and their lavish lifestyle, which led to economic problems and instability within the country. Despite these challenges, the Ayyubids were able to establish a lasting legacy in Egypt and the region. They were famous for their military prowess, their cultural achievements. And their role in maintaining stability and control over the country. Their legacy continues to be felt in the country today.